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Jakarta Post

People of Lake Toba hold celebration of pigs and pork

Wed, November 6, 2019   /   03:49 pm
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    Smile together: Contestants take selfies with pigs during the Lake Toba Pig and Pork Festival 2019. JP/Andri Ginting

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    A sense of community: Visitors look at pigs in their makeshift cage in Muara district, North Tapanuli, North Sumatra, on Oct. 25. JP/Andri Ginting

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    Faster, harder: Spectators watch the pig race competition. JP/Andri Ginting

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    Got ‘em!: Blindfolded competitors try to catch pigs. JP/Andri Ginting

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    Winner’s trophy: Firwan Aritonang is victorious as a pig catcher. JP/Andri Ginting

Andri Ginting

One of North Sumatra’s most popular tourist destinations, Lake Toba, has had another festival added to its calendar as locals seek to attract more visitors.

The new event is called the Lake Toba Pig and Pork Festival and was held for the first time at SD Inpres state elementary school near the lake on Oct. 25 and 26.

As the name suggests, the festival featured various pig-related activities, ranging from pig races, a catching competition to, of course, porkbased culinary contests.

The most amusing event was the pig catching competition, as it featured one special rule: All competitors must be blindfolded.

Without the aid of sight, competitors found themselves frequently grabbing hold of each other instead of the pigs, igniting laughter from the spectators.

In addition to featuring fun competitions, the event was also designed to educate people on the best ways to breed pig without damaging the environment, such as preventing the disposal of pig excrement into Lake Toba so as not to pollute the lake and it surroundings.

Festival founder Togu Simorangkir said the festival activities were primarily intended as entertainment and were not intended to show disrespect toward people of other religions. The festival was held in Muara district where the majority of people belong to the Christian Batak ethnic group.

Anybody who wanted to attend the festival was welcomed regardless of their ethnicity, race or religion. It is hoped that by staging the festival again in the future it can help increase the number of tourists visiting Lake Toba, in particular Muara district, and in turn boost the local economy.